Picture this: you’re lounging on your concrete patio, exiting your car onto your concrete driveway, or heading down to your concrete-floored basement when it hits you; the unmistakable aroma of cat or dog urine is in the air. When that happens, you’re likely only worried about one thing, how to remove a urine smell from concrete.
There are several excellent ways to remove a urine smell from concrete. An enzymatic or ionic cleaner is often the most effective choice. However, you can try natural products like vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and trisodium phosphate.
Which option is best depends on your preference, the stain’s size, and how long the urine sat before cleaning. If you need to figure out how to remove a urine smell from concrete, here’s what you need to know.
Contents (Jump to Topic)
- Can Pet Urine Smell Be Removed from Concrete?
- How to Remove Pet Urine Smell from Concrete
- Does Dried Pet Urine Smell Go Away on Concrete?
- How to Find the Source of the Urine Smell
- Will Bleach Get Rid of Dog Urine Smell on Concrete?
- Does Ammonia Remove Cat Urine Odor from Concrete Floor?
- Will Sealing Concrete Get Rid of Urine Smell?
- How to Make Sure the Urine Stain Is Gone After Cleaning
- How to Stop Dogs Peeing on Concrete
- The Best Way to Remove Cat or Dog Urine Smell from Concrete
Can Pet Urine Smell Be Removed from Concrete?
Removing a pet urine smell from concrete is possible, but you have to use the right cleaners if you want to remove the odor.
Ammonia, bacteria, and urine salts in pet urine can all create an offensive smell. The issue is many cleaners don’t break down that urine salts. As a result, the odor can remain even if you rinse the area with water or use many traditional household cleaners.
Plus, water or humidity can reactivate the urine salts. When that happens, the odor gets stronger until the crystals dry out.
Fortunately, some cleaners – including some natural ones – effectively remove pet urine smell from concrete. By choosing one that effectively tackles the urine crystals, you can eliminate the odor for good.
How to Remove Pet Urine Smell from Concrete
1. Vinegar Solution
Vinegar is acidic, neutralizing any alkaline odor-producing urine salts and bacteria. Plus, it’s a natural, safe option for people and pets.
Usually, the easiest way to apply the vinegar is to create a solution in a spray bottle. A 50/50 mix of distilled white vinegar and water is usually sufficient. Once you add the vinegar and water to the spray bottle, attach the spray nozzle and gently shake the bottle to combine.
Once you create the solution, spray the pet urine stay. You want to apply a heavy enough coating that will remain wet for at least five minutes. After spraying, let the vinegar solution sit for at least five minutes before scrubbing the spot with a nylon brush.
Next, you’ll want to rinse the spot with clean water and wipe it dry. Then, apply the vinegar solution using the process above again. Finally, you can sprinkle the area with baking soda to neutralize the vinegar, let the baking soda sit, and sweep it up.
2. Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is another people and pet-friendly option for removing pet urine smells from concrete. It’s especially effective at removing ammonia odors and bacteria-related smells.
In a spray bottle, combine two cups of hydrogen peroxide with a couple of drops of ammonia-free and bleach-free liquid dish soap. Put the nozzle on and gently shake the bottle to mix.
Next, spray the urine stain until it’s thoroughly saturated. Let the spot soak for five to 10 minutes, then use a nylon brush to scrub the area. After that, use clean water to rinse and repeat the process before letting the spot air dry.
If you still have lingering odors, you may want to follow this process with an enzymatic cleaner. Usually, the remaining smell involves urine crystals that remain trapped in the concrete, and an enzymatic cleaner is more effective at addressing those.
3. Baking Soda
Baking soda is a solid choice when dealing with relatively fresh pet urine. It’s highly absorbent and odor-neutralizing, making damp urine easier to clean.
Take a newly-opened box of baking soda and sprinkle the baking soda liberally over the pet’s urine. Let the baking soda soak up as much as possible before sweeping it up.
Then, apply fresh baking soda over the stain. With a nylon brush or a gloved hand, work the baking soda into the concrete surface. Let that sit for several minutes before spraying it with a vinegar solution to neutralize it and wipe it away.
4. Trisodium PhosphateTrisodium phosphate (TSP) is a stronger chemical that can break down the odor-causing material in pet urine. It’s harder to work with than natural alternatives, and you’ll need to wear personal protective equipment (PPE), like gloves, safety goggles, and a breathing mask. Proper ventilation is also essential to avoid fume buildup.
When working with TSP, you’ll need to dilute it in water in most cases. Review the manufacturer’s directions to get the recommended ratio for safe use.
Once you create the solution, apply it using a nylon scrub brush. Let it sit for several minutes – based on the manufacturer’s directions – and then scrub the urine stain. After that, rinse the floor with fresh water using a mop before letting the floor dry.
Sometimes, you’ll want to follow up TSP with one of the two cleaner options below. After the floor dries, see if the odor returns. If it does, proceed to an enzymatic or ionic cleaner.
5. Enzymatic CleanerEnzymatic cleaners have enzymes that break down urine salts, also called uric acid crystals. Urine salts are one of the main odor-causing components of pet urine stains and are typically the hardest scent-producing elements to remove. Since that’s the case, enzymatic cleaners are often more effective than many alternatives.
As with all commercial products, read the manufacturer’s instructions to find the recommended application method. In many cases, it’s best to choose a version in a large jug over a spray bottle. Primarily, this is because it takes time for enzymatic cleaners to soak into the concrete to tackle all of the urine salts, so you’ll need far more than a light spritz.
Typically, you’ll begin by pouring the enzymatic cleaner onto the urine stain. Use a deck brush to scrub the area. Make sure the spot remains wet for 10 minutes, giving the enzymatic cleaner time to soak into the concrete.
If you’re in a hot, dry climate, you may want to cover the spot with a plastic tarp while it absorbs to slow evaporation. Once the time elapses, you can remove the tarp and let the spot air dry. Generally, rinsing is not required, though you will want to rinse if the manufacturer recommends it.
6. Ionic Cleaner
Another highly effective option for dealing with pet urine odors is an ionic cleaner. These products use positive ions to cancel out the negative ions in pet urine that produce foul aromas.
Make sure to review the manufacturer’s directions, as application methods and waiting time recommendations can vary. However, the cleaning process is typically similar to the other cleaners on this list.
You’ll often start by dampening the spot with water and applying the ionic cleaner to the concrete. The cleaner starts breaking down the odor-causing materials immediately. Just make sure the area is soaked with cleaner long enough for it to penetrate the concrete to tackle all of the sources of the smell.
As with enzymatic cleaner, rinsing it’s usually necessary. Instead, you can simply let it air dry. Finally, check to make sure the aroma is gone, and retreat if it isn’t entirely handled in a single application.
7. Hire a Professional
For particularly large or deep pet urine stains, you may want to hire a professional. They’ll have access to more cleaning tools and solutions. As a result, a professional can typically tackle deep urine stains faster and more effectively.
Another benefit of hiring a professional is that they usually guarantee their work. Since that’s the case, if the odor returns, they may come in and retreat the area for free.
Does Dried Pet Urine Smell Go Away on Concrete?
Once pet urine gets onto your concrete and absorbs into the material, the smell won’t disappear without proper cleaning. Unsealed concrete is porous, so uric acid crystals will get below the surface. Urine salts can remain intact almost indefinitely, so they’ll continue producing odor until you use a cleaner that breaks them down.
How to Find the Source of the Urine Smell
Urine smells in the air are potent, and they often waft far from the source of the aroma. Since effective cleaning means finding the scent’s origin, you’ll have to find the exact location where your pet peed.
Sometimes, you can find the source of the urine smell by letting your nose be your guide. Find the spot where the aroma is strongest and look for discoloration on the concrete nearby. If you cannot locate the stain using your nose to get you in the right area, the next best option is to use a black light, also known as a UV light.
Pet urine glows blue, green, or yellow when exposed to UV light. Turn off any other lights and close nearby curtains to make the room darker. Then, take a black light flashlight and work your way through the room to find the source of the odor.
Will Bleach Get Rid of Dog Urine Smell on Concrete?
Bleach typically won’t get rid of the smell of dog urine on concrete. It’s ineffective at breaking down urine salts, allowing the odor-causing material to remain in place.
Plus, bleach can react with the ammonia in urine. When bleach and ammonia are combined, it creates chlorine gas. Chlorine gas is highly toxic to people and pets, leading to respiratory problems, nausea, and dizziness. In high enough quantities, chlorine gas is even fatal.
Since bleach isn’t effective and is potentially dangerous to use, you shouldn’t try it if you’re attempting to get rid of pet urine odors. Instead, use the alternatives listed above.
Does Ammonia Remove Cat Urine Odor from Concrete Floor?
Ammonia isn’t an effective cleaner for dealing with cat urine odor. Pet urine contains ammonia, so using it to clean up the spot only adds more to an already ammonia-containing stain. Plus, it won’t break down urine crystals, so it won’t tackle that cause of pet urine odors.
Additionally, using an ammonia-based cleaner could encourage your cat or dog to pee in the same spot again. Dogs and cats often revisit places when they’re marking territory with urine. As a result, they may think that the lingering ammonia scent means it’s okay to urinate in that area.
That remarking tendency is a primary reason why many pet experts don’t recommend using ammonia-based cleaners inside any home with cats or dogs. When you clean, the pet may believe the odor is caused by urine, making those parts of the house seem like safe places to urinate in the future.
Will Sealing Concrete Get Rid of Urine Smell?
Sealing the concrete can prevent lingering pet urine odors from returning, but removing as much of the smell as possible before sealing is best.
The odor could still come through if the aroma is too strong and the coating isn’t thick enough. But once you seal the concrete, getting to the source of the smell is far harder, making cleaning it up more challenging.
You typically need to clean the concrete before sealing it to ensure proper adhesion. In most cases, using TSP across the entire concrete pad is a smart move. Follow that up with an enzymatic cleaner to make sure that all of the urine smell is gone.
In some cases, you might also want to use an acid etching solution. Using that before you apply the enzymatic cleaner can help the cleaner get deeper into the concrete, so it’s worth considering hard-to-clean stains.
Before you seal the concrete, make sure the surface is completely dry. Then, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on properly applying the coating. Once the coating dries, any lingering urine odors should be gone.
One benefit of sealing your concrete is that it can prevent pet urine from soaking into the material. As a result, you’re protecting yourself from future odors since the urine is more likely to stain on the surface, making it easier to clean up.
How to Make Sure the Urine Stain Is Gone After Cleaning
After cleaning the urine stain, it’s wise to check again to ensure the odor is gone. This is important for two reasons. First, it lets you know if your initial approach was effective. Second, it could tell you if there’s another urine stain you didn’t find during your original pass.
In most cases, you can let your nose be your guide. Make sure any scent left by the cleaner dissipates before you check, as that aroma may temporarily hide a urine smell.
You can also use a mop to dampen the concrete. Water reactivates urine crystals and causes them to produce an odor. Since that’s the case, the urine smell is often easier to detect if the concrete is wet.
Using a black light flashlight helps determine if you’ve effectively cleaned up the urine stains. The urine will glow under the black light, so no glow means you’ve addressed it thoroughly.
How to Stop Dogs Peeing on Concrete
If you have a dog that’s made a habit of peeing on your concrete, you’ll need to use a multi-step approach to deal with the issue. First, it’s crucial to remove any odor-producing pet urine stains. Dogs often use the aroma to find spots to revisit, so lingering smells only encourage them to return.
However, dogs will also pee on spots where other animals have urinated. When that happens, the dog marks its territory, altering other animals to their presence. As a result, you can’t just clean up urine stains your dog leaves; you have to address any animal urine stains on your concrete.
You’ll most likely want to try an enzymatic or ionic cleaner to remove urine odors. However, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and vinegar are worth trying, particularly since their people and pet-safe.
Once the aroma is gone, those spots may not attract your dog, reducing the odds of remarking. But even if that’s the case, it’s wise to take other steps.
One technique that works well is positive reinforcement when your dog pees in a spot you approve of, encouraging them to continue that behavior. Choose a high-value reward – such as a small piece of cheddar cheese – and offer it whenever your dog urinates in a preferred location. Follow that up with verbal praise and affection.
If you have a puppy or an incontinent older dog frequently peeing on a concrete patio, then positive reinforcement isn’t always enough. In some cases, they aren’t making it to your preferred spot because they don’t have the sufficient bladder control to go that far.
In that situation, you’ll want to increase the frequency at which the dog goes out, particularly when they’re drinking larger amounts of water, such as after longer play sessions or meals. That reduces the odds that their bladder is overly full, allowing them to make it farther. Combine that with positive reinforcement for the best results.
If your dog is still peeing on your patio even with more frequent potty breaks, schedule an appointment with their vet. Medical conditions can make it harder for them to control their bladder. By seeing a vet, they can check for those conditions and provide proper treatment.
The Best Way to Remove Cat or Dog Urine Smell from Concrete
In most cases, the best way to remove a cat or dog urine smell from concrete is to use an ionic or enzymatic cleaner. Both of those break down the odor-causing materials quickly and efficiently. However, you can also try vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, or TSP. If nothing seems to work, then hire a professional.
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